Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 1281–1285 | Cite as

Reported Sexual Desire Predicts Men’s Preferences for Sexually Dimorphic Cues in Women’s Faces

  • Benedict C. Jones
  • Anthony C. Little
  • Christopher D. Watkins
  • Lisa L. M. Welling
  • Lisa M. DeBruine
Original Paper


Recent studies investigating the relationship between sexual desire and sexual attraction have found that heterosexual women’s reported sexual desire is positively correlated with their reported attraction to both own- and opposite-sex individuals, but that heterosexual men’s reported sexual desire is positively correlated with their reported attraction to opposite-sex individuals only. These findings have led to the proposal that sexual desire is a generalized energizer of sexual attraction in heterosexual women (i.e., influences women’s attraction to both men and women), but only energizes heterosexual men’s sexual attraction to women. Here we show that heterosexual men’s scores on the Sexual Desire Inventory-2 were positively correlated with their preferences for exaggerated sex-typical shape cues in opposite-sex, but not own-sex, faces. Together with previous research showing that heterosexual women’s reported sexual desire is positively correlated with their preferences for exaggerated sex-typical shape cues in both own- and opposite-sex faces, our findings present novel converging evidence for sex-specific relationships between sexual desire and attractiveness judgments of own- and opposite-sex individuals.


Sexual desire Sex drive Attraction Mate choice Face perception 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benedict C. Jones
    • 1
    • 4
  • Anthony C. Little
    • 2
  • Christopher D. Watkins
    • 1
  • Lisa L. M. Welling
    • 3
  • Lisa M. DeBruine
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenScotland, UK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of StirlingStirlingScotland, UK
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  4. 4.Face Research Laboratory, School of Psychology, The William Guild Building, King’s CollegeUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenScotland, UK

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